Slavery and Abolition History of Brooklyn Heights

Slavery and Abolition History of Brooklyn Heights

Slavery in Kings County was especially peculiar as the Dutch managed it. It was recognized that it was a money-based institution, but because there were only relatively small farms in the area rather than plantations, there were some humane features to this brutal practice. Bondsmen were allowed days off, could have their own side businesses, and could seek new masters if they disliked their owners, as is recognized by the black Historian Craig Wilder. The British were more callous in their attitudes towards bondsmen. They could not gamble, have more than twelve people at a funeral (probably for fear that such meetings could be used to organize slave revolts), and if found out at night were to be taken to jail to be whipped. As abolitionist feelings rose after the 1783 British evacuation of New York, public auction sales were ended in Kings County in 1790.

New York City, New York, Scenic View from Gowan's Heights in Brooklyn




New York City, New York, Scenic View from Gowan's Heights in Brooklyn


Buy This Allposters.com



We know there were slaves in the Heights since a former Hessian soldier, John Valentine Swertcope, who lived there, allowed his slave Peggy to sell hot corn and pears with molasses on Fulton Street around 1800. In addition, the list below shows that Cornell and Hicks family members freed slaves, and these names are not known outside the Heights.

The New York Manumission Society, led by Alexander Hamilton (who had seen bondage in its worst form in the sugarcane fields of Nevis in the Caribbean where he grew up) and future Supreme Court justice John Jay, encouraged owners to free slaves and lobbied for abolition. In 1799 the State passed a law for its gradual abolition, which specifically authorized manumission (the freeing of slaves “by hand”), and required it end by 1827 when young people born that year would end the term of service the law prescribed they owed their owners.

More about Slavery and Abolition History of Brooklyn Heights

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Slavery News.